Hygiene Awareness in Saudi Arabia


Most countries in the Middle East emphasize on the importance of embracing hygiene practices. However, the level of awareness about hygiene in some countries (in the Middle East) like Saudi Arabia is quite low (Kadi & Salati, 2012). As such, interested parties such as the government need to assess the level of hygiene among the Saudis to take prompt remedial action. Additionally, assessing the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia will be crucial because it will enable researchers to recommend various ways of improving hygiene practices. In the public domain, public hygiene is paramount especially among food vendors. Therefore, there is need by authorities to make it mandatory that all food vendors in Saudi Arabia comply with hygiene standards as observed by Abulreesh et al. (2006).

Research Aim and Objectives

This study aims at assessing the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia. To do so, the current research study hopes to achieve the following research objectives:

  • To determine the extent to which hygiene campaigns are conducted in Saudi Arabia.
  • To determine measures put in place to ensure that WHO’s hygiene standards are adhered to.
  • To explore the risks associated with poor hygiene.
  • To establish the extent to which hygiene awareness helps in preventing hygiene-related diseases.
  • To suggest possible ways to increase the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia.
  • To determine compliance regulations that the government can establish to ensure that food vendors observe high levels of public health hygiene.

Literature Review

Although changing and influencing people’s behaviour can be quite challenging, hygiene awareness is nonetheless essential. Organizations and policymakers have taken the responsibility of creating health awareness and safe living practices. As noted by Curtis, Cairncross and Yonli (2000), society has relegated the responsibility of creating hygiene awareness to policymakers. Poor hygiene can be detrimental and fatal. For instance, poor public health results in such hygiene-related infectious diseases as cholera and diarrhoea (Abulreesh et al. 2006).

Curtis et al. (2000) observe that simple acts like hand washing and proper disposal of human waste can greatly promote hygiene. In addition, hand washing helps to reduce the transmission of disease-causing microorganisms. A past research study conducted in Guatemala revealed that women were expected to wash their hands 32 times a day (Curtis et al. 2000). This exercise required 20 litres of water per day. Bearing in mind that most of the developing nations are faced with inadequate water supply, hand washing and other health related practices may be hard to implement in such regions. However, hygiene does not simply mean the washing of hands; it also involves high levels of cleanliness in order to prevent the transmission of infectious disease as noted by Kadi & Salati (2012).

Low levels of hygiene awareness have resulted in low hygiene compliance in Saudi Arabia (Kadi & Salati, 2012). This has seen cases of cholera and diarrhoea increase tremendously. Poor hygiene has contributed to an increase in antimicrobial resistance among major hygiene-related infections. This puts the population at a greater risk of getting infections (Agtini et al., 2005).

Hygienic food handling is vital in public health since it ensures that germs and other microorganisms are not transferred from food to human body via consumption (Green & Tillotson 1997). Public restaurants and other food vendors are some of the areas in which hygienic food handling should be emphasized (Kadi & Salati, 2012). Although the ministry of health is responsible for checking public hygiene standards in public restaurants (Pelto, 1991), there is need to increase the level of hygiene regulation. This will aid in curtailing the spread hygiene-related diseases such as cholera and diarrhea according to Curtis et al. (2000).


The methodology of this research study shall involve organizing and planning the research study approach with the objective of answering the research question (Creswell, 2003). In addition, the methodology shall also assist the researcher in realizing the research aim and objectives.


This study will adopt a qualitative research method. As noted by Pratt (2006), qualitative research method is used to carry out an inquiry into an unknown phenomenon from a natural setting. With reference to the current research, the researcher will make use of qualitative research methods to determine the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia. The major reason why the researcher chooses to use qualitative research method for the study is that it allows them to get opinions, attitudes, and beliefs of the subjects under study. In addition, it gives the researcher room to describe, explain, and interpret the data collected (Williams, 2007). Owing to the high level of involvement of a researcher in a qualitative research method, he/she is in a position to realize the actual experiences of the study (Pratt, 2006). As noted by Runciman (2002), qualitative research gives answers to the research questions based on the opinions, perspective, beliefs, and attitudes of individuals in the field.

The researcher will collect data from primary sources. In this case, an in-depth interview questionnaire shall be the data collection tool of choice (Williams, 2007). Questionnaires shall be designed in a manner that they can be filled during the interview. As noted by Adams and Cox (2008), the investigator will follow the set schedule of prepared questions during the interview sessions. Interviews will be carried out on patients visiting selected health and wellness clinics in various towns within Saudi Arabia. Each interview session will be allocated a maximum of 35 minutes. Audio recording will also be carried out to supplement data collected through interview questionnaires (Runciman, 2002). The interview questions will be designed to ensure that they are brief, precise, and concise (Pratt, 2006). The interview questionnaire shall also be designed in such a way as to enable the researcher identify the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia from the perspective of the selected respondents (Pratt 2006). Given that most of the Saudi nationals are not well versed in the English language, it is necessary to ensure that the Saudi national language is used during the interviews. Given the researcher’s limited ability in the Arabic dialect, it will be crucial to engage the services of a facilitator. Both the facilitator and the researcher will be part of the data collection process (Runciman, 2002).

An in-depth interview has been chosen for the current study because it provides rich details on the research topic (Stacks, 2010). First, it presents a better chance to understand the individuals being interviewed, their perception, attitudes, and experience. Second, it offers the researcher firsthand information that is crucial in answering the research questions. Third, an in-depth interview gives the interviewer control over the interviewee and the questions being directed at the participants (Stacks, 2010). Last, an in-depth interview is important in that it provides the researcher with a chance to establish rapport with the respondents as noted by Runciman (2002). This is imperative in order to gain trust from the respondents. The moment rapport has been established, the interviewee is able to trust the interviewer and give relevant information (Runciman, 2002). The major drawbacks associated with an in-depth interview are that it may be costly, requires heavy time commitments, and presents language and culture barriers, and difficulty to gain access to the targeted population (Stacks, 2010).


The respondents to the current research study shall be patients visiting selected health and wellness clinics in various towns within Saudi Arabia. The recruitment process of the participants will be subject to a selection criterion. For instance, each respondent should be 18 years old and have a maximum of 70 years. In addition, the respondents will be selected from both genders. Respondents will consist of individuals of different ages (Williams, 2007).

Sampling techniques will be applied to come up with the sample population needed for the study. Owing to the nature of the study, purposive sampling shall be applied in locating and recruiting study participants whose selection characteristics are in line with the study’s objectives and aim (Williams, 2007). This implies that the researcher will choose the respondents with the assumption that any errors will be counterbalanced (Tongco, 2007). The other assumption made under purposive assumption is that the selected respondents will be in a better position to provide valid, reliable, and dependable information in line with the research topic (Polonsky & Waller, 2010). Purposive sampling is appropriate as it emphasizes on specific characteristics of the target population (Tongco, 2007). Furthermore, purposive sampling concentrates on recruiting respondents with certain knowledge, which can be used in the research study as noted by Polonsky & Waller (2010). For example, the recruited participants shall be patients who have experienced the consequences of poor hygiene practices. Purposive sampling is appropriate for the study because it has a greater internal validity than random sampling methods (Tongco, 2007). It is cost effective, time saving, and more realistic where limited resources and funds are an impediment to the study (Polonsky & Waller, 2010).

Sampling Frame

In order to undertake the research study, the sample shall comprise 30 participants who should be Saudi Arabian nationals (Williams, 2007). In addition, they will have to be patients visiting various healthcare facilities and wellness clinics. The researcher plans to use five health and wellness clinics with frequently patient visits. The respondents shall be both male and female in order to minimize systematic bias (Powell & Renner, 2003). The selected sample is deemed appropriate as it will be easy to work with and convenient in collecting the required data as noted by Williams (2007). In addition, qualitative research does not require statistical inferences or generalization of the results (Creswell, 2003).

Data Analysis

The collated and collected data shall be analyzed using qualitative tools of data analysis. As stated by Maxwell (2008), qualitative research requires that data analysis be carried out simultaneously alongside data collection. With reference to the current research, this will allow the researcher to focus on the interview progress (Creswell, 2003). Coding and thematic analysis will be used to analyze the collected qualitative data (Maxwell, 2008). The first step will entail transcribing the interview audio recordings. This will be followed by going through the collected in-depth interview questionnaires. After identifying the relevant themes in the interview questionnaires and transcription of the audio recordings, the researcher will code the data (Williams, 2007). In essence, the emerging themes entail the experiences, behaviors, attitudes, or opinions of the respondents, which are related to the topic under study (Powell & Renner, 2003). The data collected will be subjected to coding which according to Maxwell (2007) involves rearranging of data into different categories to facilitate comparison of themes. The goal of data coding in qualitative research is to generate theoretical concepts, themes, retrieve, and organize data ready for testing. Testing of the data will enable the researcher to determine whether the research outcomes support the existing general ideas (Adams & Cox, 2008).

Upon completion of data coding, the researcher will embark on data interpretation. At this stage, the significance of the generated themes and patterns is attached to the data as noted by Adams & Cox (2008). Additionally, key themes are categorized. The process of data analysis will enable the researcher to answer the research questions and determine the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia. The analyzed data shall then be ready for presentation and discussion in order to determine its relevance with regard to the research study (Adams & Cox, 2008).

Ethical Issues Involved

The current study shall involve the use of human subjects. Hence, there is need to ensure that the researcher seeks consent from the UNSW Human Research Ethics Advisory (HREA) panel first, before conducting the study. Prior to the data collection process, consent shall be sought from the management of the five identified health and wellness centers. As noted by Fouka and Mantzorou (2011), it is important to seek informed consent from all respondents. University administrators shall issue a signed explanatory letter to the selected respondents. Given that Saudi nationals are highly pegged on and keen about their cultural systems, the researcher will ensure that no social, cultural, or psychological harm to respondents takes place. Confidentiality, privacy, and anonymity are important in a research study involving human respondents (Fouka & Mantzorou, 2011). In the consent form, data confidentiality and anonymity statements will be provided. All the respondents will be given the option to withdraw from the research study (Creswell, 2003). All the ethical considerations will be implemented in order to ensure validity of the research. Since human beings will participate in the study, researchers will keenly observe and respect human rights (Creswell, 2003).

Timeline for the Research

The table below is a timeline for the proposed research study where different activities are spread within the span of one year.

Preparation: Involves writing of the research proposal and submitting it to the research and ethics committee for approval October – late November 2012
Reconnaissance: The researcher establishes the targeted population and the healthcare and wellness facilities. November 2012 – January 2013
Methodology: Participant recruitment and selection through purposive sampling February 2013- March 2012
Methodology: Data Collection carried using an in-depth interview questionnaire.
A facilitator and a researcher will be part of the data collection process.
March 2013- June 2013
Methodology: Data Analysis, interpretation, and discussion. Data will be analyzed to presentable form. A facilitator will be required to assist in interpreting the data. June 2013– July 2013
Writing of the literature review and the dissertation paper based on the research findings August 2013 – September 2013
Submission of the final paper to my supervisor for review September 2013 – 31stOctober 2013
Final submission of the paper 15 October 2013

Stakeholder and Community Participation

The research study shall entail various stakeholders. The major stakeholders are the patients who form part of the respondents. The researcher will have to inform the participants of the major aims of the research before the data collection process commences. The researcher will also seek expert advice on issues to do with hygiene, disease, and public health from local healthcare professionals such as doctors and clinicians (Kayaman & Arasli, 2007). In addition, the researcher will consult the relevant healthcare institutions, government offices, and bodies such as Ministry of Health Saudi Arabia in order to provide approval and expertise on the issues under study (Arab News, 2012). Lastly, the researcher will approach policymakers from different organization and the government, as they are more knowledgeable about the subject under study. The inclusion of all relevant stakeholders and the targeted communities will result in successful implementation of the study findings as noted by Pratt (2006). It also offers scholars the chance for follow-up research in future and consultation on ways, which can be adopted to create hygiene awareness Pratt (2006). Food vendors and public health inspectors will be helpful in the research since public hygiene is substantially low in Saudi Arabia (Arab News, 2012).

Importance of the Research

The research will provide relevant knowledge to help Saudi Arabia nationals deal with the issue of hygiene. For example, suggestions on better methods and measures that can be used to increase the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia will be provided as part of the research study. The aim of the current study is to assess the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia. The research findings shall assist healthcare practitioners, families, and healthcare providers with relevant statistics that will enable them to implement suggested ways of creating awareness in Saudi Arabia (WHO, 2012).

Based on existing research findings, the level of hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia is limited (Kayaman & Arasli, 2007). Such kind of research helps to reduce the gap between theoretical knowledge and the current situation on the ground. Different diseases and infections are transmitted through poor hygiene practices and as a result, the research will provide different stakeholders with relevant information on the major hygiene-related infectious diseases (Kayaman & Arasli, 2007). Research behaviors, experiences, opinions, and beliefs of the targeted population (patients) will help guide national and local governments in developing evidence-based programs and policies (WHO, 2012).


In conclusion, the research study will help to shed light on the problems that need immediate attention such as increased hygiene-related infections (WHO, 2012). This research study strives to assist healthcare practitioners and policymakers in developing policies, which can aid in increasing policy awareness in Saudi Arabia (Arab News 2012). The suggested strategies will assist communities that have been heavily affected by poor hygiene practices in Saudi Arabia (Arab News 2012). By developing effective ways of increasing awareness, a platform will be provided for developing programs and policies. This will assist in the implementation of the necessary measures at both the community and national levels (WHO, 2012). The research also forms a benchmark from which regulations applied to public restaurants can be reviewed to safeguard public health.

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